Bannack State Park Campground


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Bannack State Park

5 mi S of Dillon on 1-15, 21 mi W on Secondary 278, then 4 mi S on county road. 834-3413

Bannack was the site of the state’s first big gold strike in 1862 and the birthplace of Montana’s government. Gold was discovered in Grasshopper Creek on July 28, 1862. This strike set off a massive gold rush that swelled Bannack’s population to over 3,000 by 1863. The remnants of over 60 buildings show the extent of development reached during the town’s zenith. When the gold ran out, the town died.

Montana’s first territorial capital was the site of many “firsts” in the state’s history. Bannack had the first jail, hotel, chartered Masonic Lodge, hard rock mine, electric gold dredge, quartz stamp mill, and commercial sawmill. Bannack’s two jails, built from hand-hewn logs, tell the story of the lawlessness that terrorized Grasshopper Gulch and the road to Virginia City. Road Agent’s Rock, just a few miles from Bannack, was the lookout point for an organized gang of road agents, toughs, robbers, and murders. The infamous sheriff of Bannack, Henry Plummer, was secretly the leader of this gang called “The Innocents.” The gang is said to have murdered

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